Friday, September 14, 2007

How to Get Top Dollar for Your Child's Soul

Just when I thought the Internet was making TV obsolete, CBS has made a major contribution to society.

They finally found something useful and productive to do with our children, rather than keep them in school where they cost us money.

I’m referring, of course, to the controversial new reality TV show “Kid Nation,” in which 40 youngsters aged 8-15 were transported to a New Mexico desert to form their own society without adult supervision, electricity, or chocolate milk.

Critics say the program exploits children and encourages unusually vicious wedgies. The kids involved also had to miss a month of school, but the show’s producers argue that the experience of building a primitive society on national TV is just as educational.


But it’s not only educational, it is lucrative. “CBS acknowledges advertising on the program is low going into the season,” observes the famous Washington blog Precious, Precious Caffeination, “but predicts sponsorship dollars will flow readily -- and grow steadily -- once viewers start demonstrating their typical penchant for this kind of demeaning crap.”

Good-bye, property tax increase!

Clearly, we should all write letters to CBS to thank them for finding a more cost-effective way to educate our children.

If you’re not convinced, just look at the numbers: Each child was paid $5000 to participate the show. By acting standards, that’s not much, but we all know children will work for cheap (my allowance when I was 10 years old was $5 a week, which I thought was fantastic. These kids are lucky).

And even though some of the participants in “Kid Nation” got $20,000 “gold stars” based on their performance on certain tasks, you’d have to fill a whole Radio Flyer wagon with gold stars before they compare with the ad revenue, with a typical prime-time spot pulling in as much as $600,000 these days.

So, according to my calculations, each episode could produce a profit of approximately one hillion-jillion dollars.

Think about it: With this discovery, it won’t be long before school systems across the country lay off all their teachers and instead hire camera crews to film kids running the school themselves. If parents ever want to see their kids, they can watch them on local access cable TV, right after these important messages.


And if you aren’t convinced this new method of education will actually benefit the children, listen to the parents who signed away their offspring “Kid Nation.” For example, the mother of a ten-year-old in Miami Beach told the L.A. Times that her son “came home a stronger, more confident and more self-reliant child.”

See? This is not exploitation. Neither was slavery, for that matter, since those who spent 16-hour days picking cotton in the 110-degree Mississippi heat enjoyed such fringe benefits as physical fitness, closeness with the land, and the opportunity for musical self-discovery.

In America, we don’t take advantage of others’ misfortune for our own financial gain. We would never buy cheap clothing made by child laborers in Indonesia, nor would we maintain half-baked border security so foreigners can visit us and work under the table for less than minimum wage.

So I, for one, plan to watch every episode of “Kid Nation.”

Just as soon as I find a way to download pirated copies of it for free.

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